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Revealed: Pre-reg pass rates of large training providers

The GPhC data shows the pass rates of candidates who sat June's registration exam for the first time

Focusing less on exam training was key to success for first-time entrants sitting this summer's registration exam, according to a training provider singled out for praise by the GPhC.

The pre-registration pass rates of the 12 largest community pharmacy training providers in Great Britain show seven achieved 100% first-time pass rates in June 2016.

All 18 students at Kamsons Pharmacy – a family-run group of around 60 pharmacies across England – who sat the June 2016 exam for the first time passed. Last year, 100% of Kamsons’ 15 students passed the June registration exam.

H A McParland, a chain of 23 pharmacies across the South East of England, joined the top of the list this year  achieving 100%, with all 15 first-time students passing, according to the GPhC.

Another chain based in the South East, Paydens pharmacy, had the lowest pass rate at 94%, while Cohens came second from last with a 96% pass rate.

The results published yesterday (October 3), show that retail chain PCT Healthcare and online pharmacy X-Pharm, along with Superdrug, Tesco and Well also achieved a 100% pass rate for students sitting the June exam for the first time.

Day Lewis – which came second from bottom in last year's league table with 59% of its 44 students passing the June 2015 exam – achieved a 98% first-time pass rate this year.

Britain's two largest multiples, Boots and Lloydspharmacy, had pass rates of 98% and 99% respectively for students sitting the exam for the first time in June 2016.

Exam “too much of a focus”

In July, C+D revealed that students who sat this June’s new-look registration exam achieved the highest pass rate in four years at 95%. At the time, the GPhC said there was "strong" anecdotal evidence that some training providers had "invested more heavily" in support for trainees this year.

Kamsons Pharmacy said it was “delighted” to have been named by the GPhC as “the only large provider of community pre-registration training to have a 100% pass rate for the past two years”.

Mark Donaghy, professional development and pre-registration training manager for Kamsons Pharmacy, said its off-site training days and focus on pastoral care, “rather than lots of exam training,” helped the chain achieve its success. 

“I strongly believe that the exam is too much of a focus for many pre-reg pharmacists and detracts from what should be a year of experiencing a wide range of practice whilst under supervision,” he said.

The pharmacy students who sat the June exam were the first to take the regulator's revamped assessment.

Those pre-reg students who sat both the June and the September 2016 exams have this week called for the GPhC to review its September assessment, after claims that the autumn paper was “much more difficult” than June’s.

See the full results in the table below.

Pass rates by training provider, for candidates who sat the June 2016 registration assessment for the first time

Training provider

Pass Rate (%)

Number of candidates

H A McParland Ltd



PCT Healthcare Limited



Superdrug Stores Plc



Tesco Stores Ltd



Kamsons Pharmacy






X-Pharm Ltd 



Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd



Day Lewis 



Boots UK Limited










* Source: The GPhC, October 3, 2016


How well did your training provider perform in June's exam?

Clapton Chemist, Other healthcare profession

Meaningless. Besides , passing is a one way ticket to purgatory if you remain in community pharmacy. 

Paul Johnson, Academic pharmacist

These results are meaningless and cannot possibly be considered to be a reflection of the quality of pre-reg training provided by the companies. A quick calculation reveals that the bottom two companies (Paydens and Cohens) only had 1 trainee fail each - something that could have occured for any number of reasons.

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